Central, FL – Central and west-central Florida has long since produced numerous cornerbacks that went on to college and pro football success. The same area of Florida is loaded again for the class of 2022 to keep that tradition alive.
There never seems to be an end to the number of cornerback prospects that come from the greater Orlando, Lakeland, and Tampa Bay areas. Year in and year out, college programs from across the country flock to recruit cornerbacks from right here central and west-central Florida. This year will be no exception.
The class of 2022 has several physically gifted cornerbacks, and it’s hard to even mention half of them within this article. It’s truly a deep year. Here are a few of the cornerbacks to watch moving forward.
These two talented cornerbacks have received national acclaim and deservedly so. They earned the numerous scholarship offers they received.
Sam McCall, CB/S, 6-3, 180, Lakeland (Lake Gibson)
With an extensive offer list this young man needs no introduction. His offer list is also in large part due to his size and athleticism combined. After watching him last spring, I was shocked at how fluid this long and tall young man was.
He can bend and twist in the air like many of the 5-8 slot wide receivers one will see here in Florida. McCall is 6-3, however, making him unique. He could play many positions, but most project him to the defensive side of the football in college, and for good reason.
After watching him get beat on a fade ball last spring, only to watch him recover with great acceleration and make a one-handed interception topped off with a one-foot tap to stay in bounds for the interception, I was sold. Football fans should be as well. McCall is arguably the state of Florida’s best overall defensive back. McCall has a bevy of scholarship offers, with the Gators and Crimson Tide expected to be amongst his finalists.
Nikai Martinez, CB, 5-11, 180, Apopka
If there was ever a true do-it-all defensive back for the Blue Darters, it’s Martinez. Need him to lock down a specific wide receiver, and this young ball player will oblige. Need him to be a run defender against a power run team, Martinez will lay his shoulder pads into the blocker and the ball carrier. Yes, he can come off the edge and be a threat in the backfield as well.
Martinez is swiss army knife that college coaches seek, and that’s why programs like Auburn, Florida, Clemson and Notre Dame are all after him. He can play boundary, slot or field cornerback. Most importantly, he’s a football player.
Martinez plays defense for Apopka and he’s certainly a stalwart. He’s also one of the few players that Apopka coaches trust to return kicks and punts. Considering the level of talent on the Blue Darters roster, that’s another accomplishment for Martinez.
Look for this young man to make an impact at whichever college he decides to choose. He’s one of central Florida’s best cornerbacks.
Really Good & Deserve More Attention
Elijah “Scooby” Davis, CB/FS, 6-1, 180, Auburndale
Davis provides the definition of why college coaches strive to land cornerbacks from Polk County Florida. Quick, lean, agile, and very long arms, this young man can play press corner or lay off the line of scrimmage only to drive on the football in a moment’s notice.
Versatility. That’s Davis’s game. Much like Martinez, Davis can move around in the secondary. He will play the run and he will play the pass. Either way, he will take on top-flight wide receivers with no fear.
Davis garnered offers from programs across the country, and his offer list continues to grow. Michigan, Virginia Tech, USF, Indiana, North Carolina State and West Virginia are some of his offers. Surprisingly, no offer from any of Miami, Florida or Florida State to date. Look for that to change. Davis is an impressive cornerback or even free safety prospect and he’s a big part of Auburndale’s program.
Nasir Bowers, CB/Slot Cornerback, 5-9, 170, Lakeland High School
Built for strength in a compact frame, Bowers excels as a cornerback because he’s quick and provides the instincts to make quarterbacks pay for poor accuracy and/or timing.
Bowers probably best fits in as a nickel cornerback at the college level because he’s strong, but do not discount his ability to play man coverage on an island. He can play physical or run with speedy receivers.
Jordy Lowery, CB, 5-11, 170, Bartow
Yet another talented player from Polk County. Lowery possesses the flexibility, power, and quickness to be a really good college cornerback. His frame has yet to completely fill out, and he possesses a high football IQ.
Lowery could transition to offense and be a receiver, but like the other young men on this list, he’s likely a cornerback for some lucky college program.
Jeremy Wilson, CB/FS, 6-0, 180, Kissimmee (Osceola)
A playmaker on special teams, defense and offense, Wilson is one of the key components to making the Kowboys go. After watching him live for the first time during 7 on 7 action a few weeks ago, it’s easy to see why the Osceola coaching staff relies on Wilson.
A very muscular and lean frame represent Wilson’s build. He possesses fluid movements in his lower body and upper body, which aid his back pedal. He’s also a very talented player when the ball is in the air.
Whether it’s driving on a pass into the flat and making a pick-six interception, or being Johnny on the spot for a deflection and an interception, Wilson is continuously near the football. Wilson recently picked up three offers including Arizona.
He’s finally garnering some of the recognition he truly deserves. This young man will probably receive many offers between now and the end of summer.
Jacari Henderson, CB/ATH, 6-2, 175, Sanford (Seminole)
A key cog for the Seminoles run to the State 8A State title this past year, Henderson is truly gifted. Shifty, quick as a cat, and savvy in coverage. Henderson can play several different roles in the defensive backfield.
He’s at home playing centerfield as the free safety; Henderson can also line up out wide to take on the other team’s best wide receiver one on one. Those are the traits that helped Seminole win the state title and why numerous colleges are now offering the talented prospect.
Demari Henderson, CB/ATH, 6-1, 170, Sanford (Seminole)
Yes, you guessed it. Twins. Demari is much like his sibling in that he’s capable of playing multiple roles within the secondary and making game-changing plays. What could be slightly different about Demari compared to his brother would be his penchant to be the playmaker in the middle of the field.
It’s not wise to challenge this young man over the top. His leaping ability, hand-eye coordination and explosiveness in the open field allow him to be a true playmaker at free safety.
His physical talents also allow him to play on the edge of the defense just like his brother. At the very least, Demari possesses the physical traits to play cornerback or free safety. It’s up to him, truly. Florida State and many other programs offered Demari, as well as his brother.
On The Rise
There are more cornerback prospects than one can imagine in central Florida. Here are more prospects, amongst numerous possibilities, to watch.
Terrell Crosby, CB/WR, 6-0, 175, St. Petersburg (Lakewood)
Having little knowledge of this young man before this past weekend, Crosby absolutely tore it up (along with his teammates) for Bay Area Elite 7 on 7. They won the tournament they played in, and Crosby was a big reason why.
Playing both ways, Crosby made a great outstretched grab on a bomb against elite 2023 cornerback Cormani McClain from Lakeland (Lake Gibson), as well as lockdown receivers for two consecutive days. His quick-twitch is ideal for cornerback play.
While he’s somewhat unknown to college recruiters, that’s about to change. Crosby is a power five talent, no question.
Myller Terameau, CB, 5-10, 170, Apopka
Playing opposite of Martinez for Apopka, Terameau is the feisty cornerback that can play physical in coverage or against the run, as well as be decisive with his cuts in and out of his breaks.
For the college level, Terameau probably projects best to slot cornerback. He’s strong for his size and has no fear. He’s an important part of Apopka’s defense and will be a Division I cornerback.
Dominic Reaves, CB/WR, 6-0, 175, Tampa (Hillsborough)
An all-around athlete with a 3.7 GPA, he excels on the gridiron as well as the baseball diamond. Reaves continues to play for one of Florida’s most talented defensive secondaries in Tampa Hillsborough, as well as his current 7 on 7 team, Bay Area Elite.
Reaves is a self-proclaimed “route runner” as a wide receiver. Reaves proved he will make decisive decisions that impact games. He possesses excellent hand-eye coordination, as one would expect being a baseball player, and he turns interceptions and receptions into touchdowns.Reaves even plays some running back, and will score there as well.
Reaves could play on either side of the ball in college, but he’s probably going to receive the most attention for defense because cornerbacks are coveted by college coaches more than any other skill position.
Jordaan Bailey, CB/ATH, 6-1, 180, Tampa (Hillsborough)
Bailey could be classified in more than one way. He’s like Martinez in that he can play multiple roles as a cornerback, yet he’s a field general in the deep middle of the field or playing deep zone as a cornerback.
Perhaps he’s eventually going to end up at nickel back in a college 4-2-5 defense because he’s strong for his size and possesses the frame to add weight and turn into a run defender at roughly 200-pounds.
Bailey’s recruitment just started heating up, and he’s once again the classic cornerback target that college coaches covet. Here’s a look at Bailey’s most recent offer.
There are many more cornerbacks worthy of being on this list. Make no mistake, central and west Florida are once again loaded with cornerback prospects.